What I Learned From Tracking My Health

What I Learned From Tracking My Health

Months ago, I created my very own book that combined a health tracker and daily planner all in one. I did this because I wanted to be able to do these two things daily without having to get two different books.

I am coming up on a year of using these and it has been pretty eye opening for me. In this post, I will be discussing what I have learned about myself in the past five months.

What health stuff I track and why

Ever since about two weeks after I had COVID-19, I have experienced many different symptoms that can be attributed to post-viral syndrome (I have a whole post about that). I am also really sensitive to hormonal fluctuations which has caused uncomfortable symptoms. These two things combined have greatly disrupted my life.

After a couple months of the post-COVID symptoms, I decided that I was going to start tracking how I felt each day. I began tracking my mental/physical status, the food/supplements I consumed and what day I was on in my menstrual cycle. I have kept up with doing this since then.

The reasoning behind tracking everything has been to see if there are any correlations and/or causations. Finding any may help me figure out how to fix things or be able to anticipate things happening so I am prepared.

What I have learned from tracking my health

As I stated above, tracking has been eye opening. Looking over these five months and analyzing everything has made me realize that I am not out of the woods yet with the post-COVID and menstrual cycle issues.

Here are the things that I have learned:

Post-COVID/general-

  • May-June were horrible overall. I had lots of bouts of my post-COVID crud (GI, neurological, respiratory and heart issues). I guess I was too proud to admit that the symptoms didn’t totally go away.
  • I am groggy on days without vitamin B12.
  • Allergy-type symptoms (itchy nose, swollen throat, itchy skin) are a regular thing for me. I believe this is another post-viral annoyance combined with a mast cell issue.
  • I will randomly have actual cold-like symptoms about three days out of the month. I have gone to get drive-through PCR swab tests but they are always negative. This must be a post-viral thing, too.
  • I was taking turmeric and Aspirin because I read that they can have health benefits that are needed during the pandemic. Things were going good with them for a while but within the past few months they started to mess with my GI system. I am no longer able to consume them.
  • My mental state consists of being happy and motivated most of the time.
  • I have developed heat stroke symptoms whenever I try to mow the lawn for some reason.

Menstrual cycle-

Before I start with the list, I wanted to give an explanation of the “GI and mental distress times” that you will see on it. This is when I get extremely anxious, upset, worried and experience horrible stomach issues (pain, bloating, nausea and sometimes loose stool) all at the same time.

Here are some general things about my menstrual cycle symptoms:

  • Since taking the full dosage of Claritin everyday starting in early July, my GI and mental distress times have reduced greatly. They don’t last for more than 1.5 hours and I am able to just breath through them most of the time.
  • Any hormonal nausea I do get that is too intense for me is taken away by red raspberry leaf tea and half of a Meclizine tablet.
  • The length of my cycles switched from 27 days to 31 days and then back to 27 again. I am not sure why this happened. PCOS maybe?

My last two cycles yielded pretty much the same symptoms on all 27 days of them. Here is a play-by-play of what I experienced during them-

  • Days 1-4: Menstrual cramps (days 1-2), fatigue, mild headache, low appetite, post nasal drip, happy and focused.
  • Days 5-8: Itchy eyes, post-nasal drip, happy, motivated, focused and bloody gums.
  • Days 9-11: No physical symptoms, happy and motivated.
  • Days 12-15: Leg aches, bloating, appetite increase, lightheadedness upon standing, ovary aches (day 14), GI/mental distress time (day 15), happy most of the time and bouts of sadness.
  • Days 16-19: Appetite increase, good energy for workouts, irritable at times, happy at times and easily startled.
  • Days 20-23: Lightheadedness at times, irritable at times, happy most of the time, some bloating and not enough energy to workout on day 22.
  • Day 24-27: Tender breasts, nesting, neck aches, nausea (day 26), smell of blood in my genital area, insomnia, some bloating, rumination, irritability and night sweats.

The main takeaway

What I take from all of this information is that I have some health issues that I probably won’t be cured of. All I can do is keep managing my symptoms so that my life is not disrupted further. Things have been going pretty good lately and I want that to continue on.

Do any of you track your daily health symptoms?

Thanks for reading!

If you are interested, you can find one of my health tracker/daily planners here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0915M7S3B

#journalsandplanners #health #women #nonbinary #pms #pmddtreatment #postviralsyndrome #COVID19 #symptoms #mentalhealth #physicalhealth #hormonalproblems #pcos

Red Raspberry Leaf for Menstrual cycles

Red Raspberry Leaf for Menstrual cycles

Some of us have to deal with uncomfortable symptoms during our menstrual cycles. These can be mild or so bad that they hinder our lives.

People with these symptoms, usually look for relief from them. There are quite a few things on the market that may help and red raspberry leaf is one of them.

For this post, information about the leaves and how they may provide relieve will be presented.

Icky hormonal symptoms

Our menstrual cycles come with hormonal fluctuations. Depending on one’s body, the reaction to these fluctuations may be quite poor. These bad reactions are what causes the pesky symptoms that plague a lot of people each cycle.

The symptoms are most commonly experienced in the luteal phase (PMS/PMDD) of our cycle and during our periods. They can also show up a couple of days before ovulation, the day of ovulation and for a couple of days after our periods end.

The symptoms that people may experience include the following:

  • GI issues (loose stools, gassiness, constipation, nausea etc.).
  • Acne
  • Body aches and pains.
  • A sore throat, runny nose, stuffy nose and sneezing (lesser known symptoms!).
  • Headaches and migraines.
  • Abdominal and pelvic cramps.
  • Ovarian pain during ovulation.
  • Mood issues.
  • Fatigue and/or insomnia.
  • Lightheadedness/dizziness.
  • Cravings and increased hunger.
  • Heavy bleeding during periods.
  • Spotting in between periods.

There are other possible symptoms than what is on this list but those are the most common ones. Some people deal with the same ones each month at the same intensity or there may be some variations.

About red raspberry leaves

Raspberries are one of many types of berries and they are one of the most popular among them. As loved as they are, not very many people know that the leaves from the raspberry plant possibly have a slew of benefits.

If you have a raspberry plant and are interested in using the leaves, you must harvest them before the plant blooms. They are then to be dried until they can be crumbled easily. It is best to wait to crumble them until right when you are ready to use them though.

Most people who use red raspberry leaves, make tea with them. This can be done by steeping one tablespoon of the crumbled leaves in one cup of boiling water for 10-15 minutes. The smell of this tea is said to be very pleasant with a fruity, black tea flavor to it. People also say it is slightly sweet on it’s own.

You can also get red raspberry leaves in prepared tea bags, liquid drops, capsules and K-Cups.

There are numerous nutrients in these leaves. They include vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, B vitamins, calcium, iron, potassium and magnesium. It may also have some other antioxidant properties as well.

How it may help during menstrual cycles

Red raspberry leaves have been used as traditional medicine since around the mid 1700s. There has been a combination of anecdotal and some scientific evidence that it actually helps.

The hormonal symptoms it may help with include the following:

  • Menstrual cramps
  • Heavy periods
  • Spotting in between periods
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Sore throat
  • Breast pain
  • Fatigue

It has been said that these leaves may be helpful due to the nutrient and antioxidant content. Most notable is the vitamin B6, calcium and magnesium that they contain. These are nutrients that have been shown to help with hormonal symptoms by balancing things out.

To see if red raspberry leaves help with one’s menstrual cycle, drinking the tea or taking capsules are options. If one chooses to drink the tea- no more than three cups a day is recommended. If one chooses to take capsules instead of tea- up to 900 mg per day is recommended.

Red raspberry leaves can be taken every single day to prevent symptoms, during the luteal phase of one’s cycle or whenever it is needed.

Other possible benefits

There are some other things that red raspberry leaves could possibly help with. They are as follows:

  • Morning sickness.
  • Inducing labor- Very, very little evidence for this so don’t count on it.
  • Respiratory viruses and all that comes with them.
  • GI viruses and all that comes with them.
  • Non-hormonal headaches and migraines.
  • Non-hormonal diarrhea.
  • Relief of skin conditions such as eczema and rashes.
  • Increase of insulin sensitivity.

It is important to note that there also may be some estrogenic effects so anyone who is sensitive to that hormone should be careful.

My use of red raspberry leaves

I found out about using red raspberry leaves for menstrual cycle symptoms years ago. At first, I tried to drink three cups of the tea a day but I got kind of sick of that. I then switched to taking capsules of it daily.

As I recall, doing this really helped reduce my symptoms. I didn’t experience much in the way of nausea as I usually did and my menstrual cramps were all but non-existent.

I remember being very excited that I found something that helped me. After a while, I completely stopped buying them though. This was because I kept forgetting to put them in my Amazon cart and then I eventually kind of forgot about them.

For the past year or two, I have started to keep around red raspberry leaf teabags. I have begun to use it sporadically again- a couple days before my period begins when I have nausea. It takes the discomfort away pretty quickly which is great. I also drink some the first day of my period as it diminishes any cramps I may get.

I am planning to buy the capsules and start taking them everyday instead of just a few days a month. I am not going to get my hopes up but it would be nice to have even less symptoms than I have now (Claritin hasn’t been a complete cure)!

I will also keep the tea around to help with sore throats, coughs and possible immune system benefits.

These leaves could help you!

So, I typed all of this to say that this may be an option for people if they are struggling with their menstrual cycles and have not yet tried these leaves. It sure has helped me a lot and I am glad I found out about it.

Have any of you tried red raspberry leaves? If so, did they help you at all?

Thanks for reading!

Affiliate disclaimer: Some of the links on my site might be affiliate. This means I may make a commission on any clicks and purchases people make.

Medical disclaimer: I am not a medical professional and I am not telling you what to do in regards to your health. Consult your doctor for an evaluation before taking any herb or supplement.

#periodcrampsrelief #redraspberryleaf #traditionalmedicine #hormonalimbalance #pms #pmddtreatment #menstrualcup #tea #chamomiletea

Makeup Artist’s Choice Product Review: The Fade Peel

Makeup Artist’s Choice Product Review: The Fade Peel

I think I have used more dark spot removal products than this!

If you have read my other blog posts, you would know that I struggle with severe hyperpigmentation (dark marks) on my face. I have tried many different things to try and fade them but I haven’t had much success.

The Fade Peel from Makeup Artist’s Choice was my most recent purchase for my facial skin. In this post, I will be talking about what it is and giving my review on it.

About hyperpigmentation

Hyperpigmentation is a skin condition in which there are spots and/or patches that are darker than the rest of the skin. This is due to an excess production of melanin which makes it more common in people who are of a darker complexion.

This condition can be caused by sun damage, acne lesions, tattoos gone wrong, hormones, scratches, wounds and burns. The marks/patches can be any where on one’s body.

There are various treatments for hyperpigmentation but they do take time to work (if they do at all). These treatments include the following:

  • Hydroquinone: Has bleaching effects.
  • Retinoids: Tretinoin and Retinol.
  • Alpha-hydroxy acids: Glycolic, lactic and mandelic. They come in serums, creams and peels.
  • Laser resurfacing
  • Vitamin C: Comes in serums and creams.
  • Wearing sunscreen every two hours: Protects from sun damage.
  • Various other herbs/extracts that are said to possibly fade spots.

Some of these treatments may need to be used together in order to have the best chances of working. There are quite a few skincare products that actually do have combinations of spot-fading ingredients in cream, lotion and serum form.

My skin

I should mention first that I am of African American descent with medium brown skin. The picture above captures the hyperpigmentation better than my phone pictures can.

I started out having pretty bad acne on my face at the age of 11. It was likely when PCOS struck but we knew nothing of that diagnosis at that time. Because of that, we just thought it was regular puberty that was hitting me really hard.

The acne has gotten significantly better since I hit 25 but I have been left with dark marks as the aftermath. My skin picking issue has also not helped anything.

The hyperpigmentation is on my cheeks (left one is worse), chin and I have one spot on my upper lip. I also have hyperpigmentation spots on my body but I have been mainly trying to focus on treating my face.

The amount of products I have tried to even out my skin is crazy. I try to not get too upset about it, but it is hard not to sometimes. Lots of money has been wasted over the years.

The Fade Peel

This is one of the many high quality products from Makeup Artist’s Choice. It comes from their line of at-home chemical peels.

There are ten types of peels that are offered and almost all come in varying strengths. They all have some similar benefits but they also have some benefits that are more specific to each one.

The Fade Peel specifically treats dark marks. The fading ingredients in this peel include the following:

  • Glycolic acid– This is an alpha hydroxy acid and comes from sugarcane.
  • Lactic acid- This is an alpha hydroxy acid and comes from milk.
  • Malic acid-This is an alpha hydroxy acid and comes from apples.
  • Kojic acid-Comes from different types of fungi.
  • Bearberry extract-Comes from the bearberry plant.
  • Licorice root extract- Comes from the root of the licorice plant.

All of these ingredients also contain antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties. This means that the peel has other benefits besides its ability to fade spots.

The procedure of how to apply the peel is similar to all of the other Makeup Artist’s Choice peels. It includes the following steps:

  1. Do a patch test to see how your skin reacts to the peel.
  2. Cleanse the skin and let it dry.
  3. Prep the skin with their PH Prep toner. Let this dry for 20 minutes.
  4. Apply the peel and leave on for five minutes.
  5. Rinse off with cleanser.
  6. Apply a moisturizer.

The Fade Peel is meant to be done only once a week. It is important to not use any harsh products (acid products, acne products, retinoids etc.) within 24 hours before using the peel. You should also be wearing sunscreen every two hours, afterwards (and in general).

This peel currently comes in a sample size for $3 and a regular size (1 OZ) for $20. The rating is 4.5/5 and has 207 reviews on the site.

My review of the Fade Peel

What drew me to this peel was the fact that it is specifically for fading hyperpigmentation and contains good ingredients. I didn’t want to get my hopes up but I was excited to start a course of it.

My plan was to do ten peels and then see where my skin was at. I would then either go for a higher percentage of the glycolic peel or stop doing peels for a while altogether.

The first and subsequent times of doing the Fade Peel, I found it to barely sting at all. I was thinking that it would sting more being that it is only meant to be on for five minutes (you can go up to ten for other peels). I thought that meant it would be more powerful or something.

What I noticed the next day after each peel was that my skin was really smooth and “bright.” That feel and look would continue on for a couple days and then it would change back to its usual state.

After the ten rounds of peels were up, I tried to really assess my skin. I had taken before pictures and then I took some after pictures to compare. I also looked at my face closely in the mirror.

No changes.

My dark marks and patches looked exactly the same. It was like I had done absolutely nothing to my skin at all. Another disappointment for me.

Up next for my skin

My hyperpigmentation is obviously extremely hard to treat as nothing has really worked to date. I think this is due in part to me having dark skin-maybe it makes things more difficult.

My plan right now is to keep using aloe Vera gel, rosehip oil and sunscreen on my face. This only maintains the way my skin looks which is at least better than it making it worse.

I also plan on starting a higher strength glycolic acid peel than I have done in the past. If the glycolic acid peel does absolutely nothing, I will start using tretinoin.

If the tretinoin doesn’t work, I really don’t think there is anything else left to try.

In conclusion

So, the Fade Peel didn’t work for me. It is still a very good product as it clearly works for other people. For that reason and the fact that Makeup Artist’s Choice is a great company- I still recommend it for others to try.

Do any of you have hyperpigmentation? If so, what works for your spots?

Thanks for reading!

Here is the beauty journal I use on a regular basis: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B093B9XWTH

#melanin #MakeupArtistsChoice #skincareproducts #beauty #postinflammatoryhyperpigmentation #hyperpigmentationtreatment #TheOrdinary #

Fit Fabulous Fall: My Six Week Routine

Fit Fabulous Fall: My Six Week Routine

As bad as everything is right now in regards to the pandemic, we can’t be giving up on our health. I sure won’t be.

One of the things that we should be doing is exercising on a regular basis. It is not the most fun thing in the world but it has so many benefits.

For this post, I wanted to show you my new six week routine I will be doing and possibly inspire one of you to do it too!

My goal for this routine

I am a fitness enthusiast that does weight lifting four times a week. This has been important for me when it comes to staying mentally and physically well.

As a person with PCOS, I need to do all that I can to keep the negative effects of the diagnosis at bay. Engaging in consistent exercise that includes intense cardio/abs and weight lifting is key to this.

Over the years I have done many different weight lifting routines but have never really budged when it comes to increasing the weight used. Because of this, my goal is to up the weight I lift for each move.

Lifting a bit heavier will have me working harder during the exercise sessions. Not that it really matters that much, but I would love to see a higher calorie burn number on my heart rate monitor watch! Maybe heavier lifts will do that for me.

For my six week routine, I will be taking note of the amount of weight I lift for each exercise move in my health journal. It will be interesting to see the amounts I end up lifting when the six weeks are done!

My workout structures and schedules

As stated before, I always do four weight lifting workouts and two intense cardio/abs workouts a week. The workout schedule always goes like this:

Upper/cardio/Lower/Rest/Upper/Cardio/Lower

There have been times where I have taken more than one day off of working out during the week. For the most part though-I exercise six days a week.

The weightlifting days always include cardio bursts. These are either before the weight lifting or between circuits/supersets/tri-sets. I like to do this because it just feels like I am getting an even better workout than only doing weightlifting moves.

In regards to how many moves I do for my weightlifting workouts-it varies. It is always at least six of them though, with two or three sets.

The cardio bursts on weightlifting days and the cardio workouts, look almost the same. They include doing a lot of moves like jumping jacks, star jumps, mountain climbers, donkey kick-ups, burpees and more. A workout ladder is the only piece of cardio equipment I own but I save it just for my cardio days.

I am not a fan of abdominal work at all so I only do about two different exercises. These are done after the cardio part of the workout has been finished.

The six week routine

Upper body workout (2x per week):

First, 18 minutes of cardio is done.

Then, three circuits with exercises done one after another without stopping. Each circuit is done two times through.

Circuit 1-

Chest press

Wide bent over row

Alternating chest flyes

Alternating back flyes

Close chest press

Close bent over row

Regular push ups

Supine (back) push ups

Circuit 2-

Overhead press

Palms up pull overs

Alternating front raises

Alternating pull overs

Lateral raises

Arm circles- 45 seconds

Hindu push ups

Circuit 3-

Single arm tricep extensions (left or right)

Hammer curls

Single arm triceps extensions (left or right)

Skull crushers

Alternating curls

Tricep dips

Staggered hands push ups

Cardio and abs workout (2x a week):

30 minutes of straight cardio and then 10 minutes of cardio ladder work. Then I do some ab work.

Lower body workout-

First, 18 minutes of cardio is done.

There are four supersets and each are done three times through.

A1. Wide deadlifts

A2. Side lunges

B1. Narrow squats

B2. Reverse lunges

C1. Stiff legged deadlifts

C2. Hip thrusts

D1. Squat to forward lunges

D2. Side leg raises

What do I do my workouts to?

I love to workout to shows. It is just more motivating for me than music is.

Right now I have been working out to Superstore and it is so fun. That show puts me in a better mood and I really look forward to my workouts. Next I will be putting on Wayward Pines!

To conclude this

I am excited to do this six week routine and reach my goal of lifting heavier weights. My plan is to update you all on how I do after I have finished the routine.

What is your current workout routine?

Thanks for reading!

#homeworkouts #homegym #fitness #weighlifting #HIIT #exercise #health #PCOS

Zinc: What It Can Do for Hormones

Zinc: What It Can Do for Hormones

Many women/non-binary people with hormonal conditions are willing to try a lot of things to reduce or eliminate the accompanying symptoms of them. While there are medical interventions that exist, some are still interested in going the supplement route.

Zinc is one of the supplements that is said to possibly help with hormonal conditions and we are going talk all about it in this post!

Introduction to Zinc

Zinc is one of 118 chemical elements with an atomic number of 30. It is essential for living things due to the roles it has in keeping organisms healthy. In humans it is responsible for regulation and helping with the proper functioning of various systems.

The human body stores it in various places (i.e. organs and cells) but it is not found naturally in us. To obtain zinc, we need to either get it from food and/or take a supplement.

This mineral is used for industrial, supplemental and topical (ointments and creams) related purposes.

In terms of supplements, zinc comes in different types. These include gummies, liquids, lozenges, capsules and tablets. Some of them have the zinc combined with other minerals/vitamins or it is by itself.

There are several forms of zinc which include acetate, gluconate, picolinate, orotate, sulfate and citrate. These forms differ when it comes to absorbability, price and what it could specifically do for our health.

In terms of food, zinc is found in a variety of things. The foods with the highest amount of it include beef, pork, oysters, tofu, chicken, cashews, oatmeal and mushrooms.

Zinc and hormonal conditions

Zinc supplementation has shown to have some positive effects when it comes hormonal issues that plague many women/non-binary people. This is said to possibly be because of zinc’s ability to regulate hormones.

. The following are the hormonal related issues that supplementing with zinc may help with:

  • Fertility- Studies suggest that zinc may help shorten the time that it takes to get pregnant.
  • Metabolic syndrome in people with PCOS- A sufficient amount of zinc is essential for insulin regulation and for having a proper response to it. It also reduces glucose and triglyceride levels. Getting all of this under control reduces the risk for things like diabetes and heart disease.
  • Painful menstrual cramps- This problem is also called, dysmenorrhea. It is very common and can get in the way of having a quality life. Studies show that zinc has anti-inflammatory actions that may prevent and treat the painful cramps.
  • PMS- For some women, the levels of zinc get lower in the luteal phase (after ovulation and the two weeks before your period starts). Getting one’s zinc levels up during this time may reduce the brain sluggishness, mood swings and bad sleep.
  • Acne-The anti-inflammatory action that zinc has may help with the acne that can come with hormonal issues.
  • Excess hair- Many people with PCOS have too much androgens which then causes excess hair to form in unwanted areas (i.e. upper lip and chin). Zinc is shown to have anti-androgen effects so it may help reduce the amount of hair that is grown.

The above reasons are why quite a few professionals (the ones that are okay with supplements) that specialize in women’s/non-binary health recommend zinc supplementation for hormonal issues.

Magnesium and calcium are two other supplements that are touted as being great for hormones. Luckily, you can find products that contain all three things in one! An example of a combination product is this one by Solaray.

The dosage for zinc should be no more than 50 mg per day to avoid negative side effects. These uncomfortable effects include GI issues, chest pain, fatigue and headaches.

Other things zinc can do for our health

There are quite a few other things that zinc is said to possibly do for us. They are as follows:

  • Increase the strength of our immune systems.
  • Improve the frequency and severity of acne.
  • Improve age related vision loss.
  • Reduce signs of ADHD if taken with prescription medication.
  • Shorten lengths of colds.
  • Improve low moods.
  • Improve brain fog and memory issues.
  • Improve smell and taste ability.
  • Heal bed sores and diaper rash when applied in cream form.
  • Help with male fertility issues.
  • Help improve metabolic syndrome markers.

As with any supplement, the benefits of zinc are not definitive. However, there is a lot of good evidence for them.

Our favorite supplements

My husband and I both take zinc. I had stopped for a while but ever since I did more research on it- I have started taking it again. This is partly because I noticed that my cramps got worse when I stopped taking it (I use a health journal everyday!.

If you have a sensitive stomach, the lozenges I use are a great option. You can find them here.

My husband does not have a sensitive stomach by any sense of the word. Because of this, he is able to take a larger dosed pill from Nature’s Bounty that may be hard on some people’s stomach. You can find the product here.

Zinc may be the thing to try

If you are struggling with hormonal problems, you could give zinc a try. It may not cure you but it could end up helping you a little bit.

Are any of you taking zinc? If so, what do you feel it is doing for you?

Thanks for reading!

Affiliate disclaimer: Some of the links on my blog may be affiliate links. This means I will get a commission on any clicks and purchases you make.

Health disclaimer: I am not a doctor or any kind of a medical professional. I am not telling you what to do and nothing I say is a substitute for professional medical advice. You should consult with your doctor before making changes that could affect your health.

#zincsupplement #immunesystem #hormonalproblems #pms #pmddtreatment #pcos #health #women #nonbinary